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« Screw a New Music Tax – We’ve got our Own Ideas | Main | Rock The Biz - Chapter 2 "Indie vs Major" »

How Indie Musicians Can Get Started With Video

YouTube is huge. We know that. But did you also know that it serves as the number 2 search engine, right behind the king of search and technically their parent company, Google.

That means there are more searches done on YouTube than on Yahoo, Bing, Ask or any other search engine! Do you know what they are looking for?

Much like the personal branding niche tells us to Google ourselves, musicians need to look at YouTub’in themselves. What videos show up? What channels, subscribers, comments and playlists are on the first page of your YouTube results?

Recent research from Sysomos told us that 30.7% of all videos watched on YouTube were in the music category. Another 14.6% coming from entertainment. That’s almost half of all the videos viewed! And they stream over a billion videos everyday!

So How Can You Get Started With Video On An Indie Budget?
When we work with artists we know what we need to get them up and running with video immediately. There are a few tactics we use to get videos up and running quickly without a big budget. In fact, most of the videos we do are either free or shot on a $150 Kodak Zi8 pocket HD camera (we like it better than the Flip due to its mic inputs).

Start With Screencasts

Label 2.0 member Andrew Hand used screen capture software to talk to his fans and tell them how they can easily vote for him to make a record with Slash. Check it out below:

These videos can be made fairly easily with free software like Jing Project or Screentoaster. For those looking to get a little more professional look at Camtasia or Screenflow (for Mac users).

Other ways to use Screencasts:

  • Show fans your membership site
  • If you had a ton of people talking about your show on Twitter, record a screencast thanking your fans that showed you some Twitter love.
  • Screencast your ProTools or other music editing software and debut a song as you are making it

Go To Talking Head Videos
Using inexpensive cameras like the Kodak Zi8 or the Flip, record yourself just talking. You can also use your webcam. One of my favorite things I have seen is Kim Divine’s Bedroom Series. In the series, which just put out video number 28 on Valentine’s Day sees Kim just talking to her fans, playing music, showing off art and a flurry of other things. She now has over 4,600 YouTube subscribers.

Finally, the Slideshow

The concept is simple. Take pictures and put them to your music. You can do this on free editing software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker or use a service like Animoto to make a sweet looking video. You can create 30 second clips, however you should be using full songs. Picture intervals around 10 seconds have seemed to work fine for most of these videos. Be sure to include slides with calls-to-action to go back to your site, join your mailing list or some other fan creating action.

The point is, do video. The excuse that video is expensive and time consuming just doesn’t fly in today’s music economy.

Greg Rollett is a music marketing guy from Orlando, FL. He is also an instructor at Label 2.0, an interactive music marketing platform for indie musicians.

Reader Comments (4)

I had no idea YouTube was the #2 search engine...that kinda short-circuited my frontal lobes just now.

Greg, excellent rundown, I will be sending a lot of people this link tonight.

March 4 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Hey Justin - yea man, its been something we have been studying and learning for the last 6 months really. YouTube search results pages are becoming one of the top things in the entire SEO community, not just for musicians.

Thanks for sharing the link - much appreciated!

March 4 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Rollett

I knew I chose YouTube over Vimeo for a I actually know what that reason is. haha thanks for the great article Greg. I will also be sharing this with my band mates.

March 5 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

Chris - yea YouTube has a much larger audience, but in sheer terms of quality Vimeo rocks the house. I would suggest using both and all the others as well. As an indie band, use services like Tube Mogul or Traffic geyser to submit your videos to all the video services.

I would embed the YouTube ones, but with strong tags, titles and descriptions the others may grow some legs too.

Thanks for the comment.

March 5 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Rollett

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